Salivary and serum procalcitonin and C-reactive protein as biomarkers of periodontitis in United States veterans with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Biotechnic and Histochemistry








C-reactive protein; gingivitis; osteoarthritis; periodontitis; procalcitonin; saliva


© 2015 The Biological Stain Commission. Serum procalcitonin (ProCT) is elevated in response to bacterial infections, whereas high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) is a nonspecific inflammatory marker that is increased by excess adipose tissue. We examined the efficacy of ProCT and hsCRP as biomarkers of periodontitis in the saliva and serum of patients with arthritis, which is characterized by variable levels of systemic inflammation that potentially can confound the interpretation of inflammatory biomarkers. Blood and unstimulated whole saliva were collected from 33 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 50 with osteoarthritis (OA). Periodontal status was assessed by full mouth examination and patients were categorized as having no/mild, moderate or severe periodontitis by standard parameters. Salivary and serum ProCT and hsCRP concentrations were compared. BMI, diabetes, anti-inflammatory medications and smoking status were ascertained from the patient records. Differences between OA and RA in proportionate numbers of patients were compared for race, gender, diabetes, adiposity and smoking status. Serum ProCT was significantly higher in arthritis patients with moderate to severe and severe periodontitis compared with no/mild periodontitis patients. There were no significant differences in salivary ProCT or salivary or serum hsCRP in RA patients related to periodontitis category. Most of the OA and RA patients were middle aged or older, 28.9% were diabetic, 78.3% were overweight or obese, and slightly more than half were either current or past smokers. The OA and RA groups differed by race, but not gender; blacks and males were predominant in both groups. The OA and RA groups did not differ in terms of controlled or uncontrolled diabetes, smoking status or BMI. The RA patients had been prescribed more anti-inflammatory medication than the OA patients. Our results demonstrate that circulating ProCT is a more discriminative biomarker for periodontitis than serum hsCRP in patients with underlying arthritis. Any elevation in salivary and serum hsCRP due to periodontitis apparently was overshadowed by differences among these patients in factors that influence CRP, such as the extent of inflammation between RA and OA, the extent of adipose tissue, the use of anti- inflammatory medications and smoking status. Although our study showed no differences in salivary ProCT related to severity of periodontitis, this biomarker also may be useful with further refinement.